LAOTIAN HILL TRIBE
MUANG SING VILLAGE
STERLING SILVER EARRING PAIR #11
WITH TEXTILE POM-POMS AND
RED GLASS TRADE BEADS
MUANG SING VILLAGE
HAND MADE STERLING SILVER MATCHING EARRING PAIR #11
AUTHENTIC TRIBAL USED ANTIQUES
TWO PIECE SILVER, TEXTILE POM-POMS,
RED GLASS TRADE BEADS, FIBER
1 X 4 INCHES
PROVENANCE: PUBLISHED IN THE BOOK ENTITLED:
"TEN SOUTHEAST ASIAN TRIBES FROM FIVE COUNTRIES"
ON PAGE # 236
|The Akha are an indigenous hill tribe who
in small villages at higher elevations in the mountains of
Thailand, Burma, Laos, and Yunnan Province in China. They
made their way from China into Southeast Asia during the early
20th century. Civil war in Burma and Laos resulted in an increased flow
of Akha immigrants and there are now some 80,000 living in Thailand's
northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai where they
constitute one of the largest of the hill tribes. Many of their
villages can be visited by tourists on trekking
tours from either of these cities.
The Akha speak Akha, a language in the Loloish (Yi)
branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. The Akha language
is closely related to Lisu and it is thought that the Akha once
belonged to the Lolo hunter tribes people who once ruled the
Baoshan and Tengchong plains in Yunnan before
the invasion of the Ming Dynasty in 1644.
Entrances to all Akha villages are fitted
with a wooden gate adorned with elaborate carvings on both
sides depicting imagery of men and women. It is known as a "spirit gate".
It marks the division between the inside of the village, the domain
of man and domesticated animals, and the outside, the realm of
spirits and wildlife. The gates function to ward off evil spirits and
to entice favorable ones. Carvings can be seen on the roofs of the
villager's houses as a second measure to control the flow of spirits.
Houses are segregated by gender, with specific areas for men
as well as a common space. This divide is said to mimic
the function of the gate. Another important feature found in most
Akha villages is a tall four-posted village swing which is used
in an annual ancestor offering related to the fertility of rice.
The swing is built annually by an elder called a dzoeuh mah.
Yao society is traditionally patrilineal,
with sons inheriting from their fathers. Marriage
between first cousins is common. The Yao follow
The Yao people have been agriculturalists for over a
thousand years, mostly harvesting rice through plowing,
although a few practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Where the Yao
live nearby forested regions, they also engage in hunting.
During the Southern Song dynasty, an imperial Chinese observer,
Zhou Qufei, described the Tao as wearing distinctive
fine blue clothing, produced using indigo dye.
The Yao celebrate their Pan Wang (King Pan) festival
annually on the sixteenth day of the tenth lunar month.
The festival celebrates the mythical original story of the
Yao people, and has evolved "into a happy holiday for the Tao
to celebrate a good harvest and worship their ancestors."
Taoism has historically been important to the Yao.
Jinag Yingliang, in a 1948 study, argued that Yao religion
was characterized by a process of Han-influenced "Taoistization"
(daojiaohua); the endurance of pre-Taoist folk beliefs; and some
Buddhist beliefs. The description of Yao region is similar to the
definition of Chinese folk religion, as described by Arthur Wolf and
Steve Sangren. Scholar Zhang Youjun takes issue with claims of
"strong Buddhist influence" on the Yao, arguing that
"although Yao ritual texts contain Buddhist expression,
the Yao do not believe in Buddhism at all.
They are resolutely Taoist."
The origins of the Yao can be traced back 2,000 years ago,
starting in Hunan Province. The Yao and Miao people were
among the rebels during the Miao Rebellions against the Ming
dynasty. As the Han Chinese expanded in southern China, the Yao
retreated into the highlands between Hunan and Guizhou to the north
and Guangdong and Guangxi to the south, and stretching into eastern
Yunnan.Around 1890 the Guangdong government started taking
action against Yao in northwestern Guangdong!
In addition to China, Yao also live in northern Vietnam
(where they are called Dao), northern Laos, and Burma.
There are around 60,000 Yao in northern Thailand, where they
are one of the six main hill tribes. The lowland-living Lanten of Laos,
who speak Kim Mun, and the highland-living Iu Mien of Laos are two different
Yao groups. There are also many Yao living in the United States, mainly
refugees from the highlands of Laos who speak the Iu Mien language. The Iu
Mien do not call themselves "Yao". Not all "Yao" are Iu Mien. A group of
61,000 people on the island of Hainan speak the Yao language Kim Mun
139,000 speakers of Kim Mun live in other parts of China
(Yunnan and Guangxi), and 174,500
live in Laos and Vietnam.
Laos is a landlocked Southeast Asian country surrounded
by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma),
and China. It has an area of about 91,400 square miles
(236,800 square kilometer). A key physical feature is the
Annamese Cordillera mountain range that runs from north to south,
along the eastern border with Vietnam. There are other secondary ranges,
and to the north of the capital, Vientiane, is the highest peak, Mount Bia.
Out of these ranges all the main rivers flow from east to west into the
Mekong River. In the north, the Mekong forms a short border with
Burma and most of the border with Thailand. Along the rivers there
are floodplains suitable for rice paddies. There are no extensive
lowland plains. Upland soils are much less fertile, but there are
two plains areas: the Plain of Jars, and the Boloven Plateau
in Champassak Province. Most of the country is covered
by monsoon forests with varied wildlife. A tropical monsoon
climate is modified by the mountains. The wet
season runs from May to October.
Ethnic Laotians account for 50 to 60 percent of the population,
depending on how some subgroups are classified. The way people
self-identify ethnically is often contextual. Related groups include
the so-called tribal Tai, Black Tai, White Tai, and Red Tai. These groups
are not Buddhists and are influenced by the neighboring Sino-Vietnamese
culture. The country contained forty-three ethnic groups in 1995
according to the official classification, mostly in the
countryside and mountains. The cities contain
significant ethnic Chinese and
Specialists are largely in agreement as to the
ethnolinguistic classification of the ethnic groups of Laos.
For the purposes of the 1995 census, the government of Laos
recognized 149 ethnic groups within 47 main ethnicities.
The Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) recently revised
the list to include 49 ethnicities consisting of over 160 ethnic groups.
The term ethnic minorities is used by some to classify
the non-Lao ethnic groups, while the term indigenous peoples
is not used by the Lao PDR. These 160 ethnic groups
speak a total of 82 distinct living languages
A true mosaic of ethnic groups, Laos has 130 different
ethnic tribes divided into four language groups. Some of the
tribes may only have a few hundred members and are only found
in Laos. These smaller tribes are considered to be in danger of being
engulfed by more dominant larger groups. If this happens,
then their language and customs will disappear. For
those who don’t have any written records, this
disappearance can happen very quickly.
The Miao – Yao linguistic group came from China
to the north of Laos between 1815 and 1900 Consists of people
from these tribes – HmongsYao Mien, Lao Huay (Lenten or Lantien), Pana
Hmongs originate from the high steppes of Tibet. Largely independent people
Characteristics include: Houses built from wooden and bamboo on the ground
Adoption of the Chinese writing Animist religion with worship of ancestors
Clan unity is very important Burn land to cultivate rice, corn and the poppy.
H’mong women are respected in their communityas being
equal with H’mong men. Husbands and wives are very affectionate
and do many of their tasks together like going to the market, working
on the field and visiting relatives. In this way, they help each
other to develop a strong community life.
Many places are reserved for worshipping in a
H’mong house – there’s a place for ancestors, for the house
spirit, for the kitchen spirit, even the door spirit. There are different
rituals which forbid people to walk into the H’mong house or their
villages. For example, a green tree branch on the front door
indicates that entrance is forbidden.
Hill tribe; "mountain people" is a term used in Southeast Asia for all of
the various ethnic groups who mostly inhabit the high mountainous regions in
Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, China, and Burma. These areas are known for their
often mountainous terrain which is in some areas covered by thick forests.
Some of the hill tribes are the Akha, Hmong, Karen, Yao, Lahu, Mien,
Padaung, Thai Lu, Lantien, Zao, and Palaung.
There are others and many sub-groups such as
the Flower Hmong, Black Hmong, and Red Zao.
The hill tribes have traditionally been subsistence farmers
who use slash-and-burn agricultural techniques to farm their
heavily forested communities. Popular perceptions that slash
and burn practices are environmentally destructive, government
concerns over borderland security, and population pressure has
caused the government to forcibly relocate many hill tribe peoples.
Traditionally, hill tribes were also a migratory people, leaving land
as it became depleted of natural resources or when trouble arose.
A 2013 article in Bangkok Post said that "Nearly a million
hill peoples and forest dwellers are still treated as outsiders—criminals
even, since most live in protected forests. Viewed as national security
threats, hundreds of thousands of them are refused citizenship
although many are natives to the land."
Roughly 95% of the Hmong live in Asia. Linguistic data show
that the Hmong of the Peninsula stem from the Miao of southern
China as one among a set of ethnic groups belonging to the
Hmong–Mien language family. Linguistically and culturally
speaking, the Hmong and the other sub-groups of the Yao
have little in common.
Vietnam, where their presence is attested from the late 18th
century onwards, is likely to be the first Indochinese country into
which the Hmong migrated. During the colonization of 'Tonkin'
(north Vietnam) between 1883 and 1954, a number of Hmong
decided to join the Vietnamese Nationalists and Communists,
while many Christianized Hmong sided with the French.
After the Viet Minh victory, numerous pro-French Hmong
had to fall back to Laos and South Vietnam.
At the 2009 national census, there were 1,068,189 Hmong living
in Vietnam, the vast majority of them in the north of the country.
The traditional trade in coffin wood with China and the cultivation
of the opium poppy – both prohibited only in 1993 in Vietnam
long guaranteed a regular cash income. Today, converting to cash
cropping is the main economic activity. As in China and Laos, there
is a certain degree of participation of Hmong in the local and
regional administration. In the late 1990s, several thousands of
Hmong have started moving to the Central Highlands and some
have crossed the border into Cambodia, constituting the first
attested presence of Hmong settlers in that country.
In 2005, the Hmong in Laos numbered 460,000.
Hmong settlement there is nearly as ancient as in Vietnam.
After decades of distant relations with the Lao kingdoms, closer
relations between the French military and some Hmong on the Xieng
Khouang plateau were set up after World War II. There, a particular
rivalry between members of the Lo and Ly clans developed into open
enmity, also affecting those connected with them by kinship.
Clan leaders took opposite sides and as a consequence,
several thousand Hmong participated in the fighting
against the Pathet Lao Communists, while
perhaps as many were enrolled in the People's
Liberation Army. As in Vietnam, numerous Hmong
in Laos also genuinely tried to avoid getting
involved in the conflict in spite of the
extremely difficult material conditions
under which they lived during wartime.
After the 1975 Communist victory, thousands of Hmong
from Laos had to seek refuge abroad. Approximately
30 percent of the Hmong left, although the only concrete
figure we have is that of 116,000 Hmong from
Laos and Vietnam together seeking refuge
in Thailand up to 1990.
In 2002 the Hmong in Thailand numbered 151,080.
The presence of Hmong settlements there is documented from
the end of the 19th century. Initially, the Siamese paid little attention
to them. But in the early 1950s, the state suddenly took a number
of initiatives aimed at establishing links. Decolonization and nationalism
were gaining momentum in the Peninsula and wars of independence were
raging. Armed opposition to the state in northern Thailand, triggered
by outside influence, started in 1967 while here again, many Hmong refused
to take sides in the conflict. Communist guerrilla warfare stopped by
1982 as a result of an international concurrence of events that
rendered it pointless. Priority is since given by the Thai state to
sedentarizing the mountain population, introducing commercially
viable agricultural techniques and national education, with the
aim of integrating these non-Tai animists within the national identity.
Burma most likely includes a modest number of Hmong
(perhaps around 2,500) but no reliable census
has been conducted there recently.
As result of refugee movements in the wake of the Indochina
Wars (1946–1975), in particular in Laos, the largest Hmong community
to settle outside Asia went to the United States where approximately
100,000 individuals had already arrived by 1990.
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